With plenty of Ryder Cup qualification points up for grabs this week at the abrdn Scottish Open, we look at who is currently in the running to feature for Padraig Harrington’s European team at Whistling Straits
Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy are both set to feature for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup this September
Time is running out for players to force their way into Team Europe’s Ryder Cup side, but how is Padraig Harrington’s team shaping up with just over two months of qualifying remaining?
A star-studded field has gathered at The Renaissance Club this week for the abrdn Scottish Open, the first Rolex Series event since points doubled under the new weighting progress, where players will have a big opportunity to boost their hopes of featuring for Team Europe at Whistling Straits.
The European qualification campaign ran from the BMW PGA Championship in September 2019 through to golf’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown in mid-March 2020, with all standings frozen until the process resumed at the start of the year.
Thomas Bjorn guided Team Europe to a 17.5-10.5 victory at Le Golf National in 2018
All Race to Dubai and Official World Golf Ranking points earned between January 1 and May 9 were multiplied by 1.5, with double points now on offer in events through to the end at the BMW PGA Championship in September.
Jon Rahm headlines the field in Scotland and is already a lock-in for a second Ryder Cup appearance, after securing a maiden major title at the US Open last month, with the world No 1 holding a commanding lead at the top of both the European and World points lists.
Jon Rahm birdied his final two holes to secure a one-shot victory at Torrey Pines
The Spaniard had already secured plenty of points earlier in the qualification campaign after following a runner-up finish at the 2019 BMW PGA Championship by finishing his season with back-to-back wins on his way to Race to Dubai victory.
Tommy Fleetwood sits second in the European Points List and extended his cushion over closest challenger Tyrrell Hatton with a top-20 finish at last week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, with the result also lifting him above Matt Fitzpatrick into eighth on the World Points List.
The English trio are all in action in Scotland this week alongside Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood, while Rory McIlroy
Viktor Hovland and Paul Casey, currently fifth and sixth on the World Points List, aren’t in the Scottish field, while Victor Perez – who holds the ninth and last automatic spot as things stand – is in action as he looks to build on last year’s tied-14th finish at the same event.
The chasing pack
Shane Lowry, taking a week off ahead of his long-awaited defence of The Open, currently sits 10th in the World Points List after closing the gap on Perez with a tied-23rd finish in Ireland last week.
Will Shane Lowry become a back-to-back winner of The Open this month?
Guido Migliozzi and Bernd Wiesberger are the next two in the standings on both lists and are in contention for a maiden Ryder Cup appearance, while Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, former Masters champion Danny Willett and Betfred British Masters winner Richard Bland are all in the top 15 on the European Points List.
Several of Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup team have work to do to move up the World Points List and secure a Ryder Cup return this time around, with Ian Poulter (17th), Henrik Stenson (28th) and Francesco Molinari (36th) all in action in Scotland and in need of a big summer.
Justin Rose (13th) and Europe’s record points scorer, Sergio Garcia (14th), both sit out of this week’s event ahead of teeing it up at the final men’s major of the year at Royal St George’s, while Alex Noren also takes the week off after jumping to 22nd in the World Points List with a tied-fourth finish at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
The top four players in the European Points List and the next five on the World Points List after the BMW PGA Championship will automatically qualify for Team Europe, with Harrington then announcing three captain’s picks the following week.
Who will impress this week at the abrdn Scottish Open? Watch throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday with Featured Groups from 8am on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.